Chief Financial Officer of Apple Inc., Peter Oppenheimer will be retiring and will be handing the reins over to the Italian-born executive Luca Maestri in September. The new CFO will be entrusted with the complicated task of guiding the expectations of Wall Street and to deal with a cash pile that’s almost the same size as that of the economy of Vietnam. Born in Rome, the 50 year old executive is taking over Apple Inc. at a time when the company is at a crossroads. The iPhone maker is constantly being clamored by its investors to make use of its industry leading hoard worth 160 billion for a worthwhile purpose rather than leaving it parked overseas.
At the same time, competitors such as Facebook and Google are shelling out tens of billions of dollars for purchasing cutting-edge tech companies such as WhatsApp and Nest. It may become even more difficult to manage the outsized expectations of investors because the company is faced with aggressive competition and slowing revenue growth. The technology giant has been forced to enter the lower-margin, but growth promoting emerging markets such as China, where local companies like Xiamoi and Huawei are dominating. Analysts have said that it is an interesting time for Maestri to assume his role.
The company is in the middle of introducing new services and has to convince the investors that it has a few tricks up its sleeve that will enable it in generating consistent revenue streams in the smartphone market that’s becoming increasingly commoditized. It is believed that Maestri is capable of supporting consistent plans in regard to capital return. Having worked in various countries from Thailand to Brazil, it is not likely that he will make an attempt to make any radical changes to the capital return strategy of Apple Inc.
Apart from that, in the long term, Apple, Inc. is also under rising pressure to make the next big launch. It is the belief of some investors that a revolutionary product will be revealed this year by CEO Tim Cook and this will break the dry spell that company has been in for the past few years where it stuck to iterations of its iPad and the iPhone. Oppenheimer had maintained the position since the year 2004 and the 51 year old was the architect behind last year’s $100 billion capital return program, which was established in response to the demands of the investors to do something beneficial with the increasing cash hoard of the company.
He had joined the company in 2013 from Xerox Corp. He had worked as a CFO for 20 years at General Motors where he had overseen several units including GM Europe. Before he had joined Xerox Corp, Mr. Oppenheimer had held the position of chief financial officer of Nokia Siemens Network, the network equipment maker. In the past few quarters, he managed to move the company towards more realistic financial outlook and targets as the company made its expansion into new markets and increased in size.